From The Desk of Pierre Zimmerman: ENGAGED ENVIRONMENTAL HEALING

Solving environmental problems almost always requires some understanding of ecological principles, called “systems thinking,” knowing that all events and beings are interdependent and mutually co-create each other. The universe is a dynamic scale of activities, with every action affecting and generating others in turn. The work for us becoming ecological change agents entails: being with suffering, cultivating systems thinking, reducing harm, and generating peace as possible tasks.

We can observe cause and effect in any system such as: in your family, within your workplace, in your backyard. We develop systems-thinking through looking at patterns and deciphering feedback loops that reflect the dominant shaping forces. Too much heat and the dog seeks shade, too much cold and the cat finds a warm car hood to sleep on. We can see that systems are shaped by regulating patterns that maintain stability, and self-organizing patterns, which we learn from in order to evolve. These give the system the ability to adapt.

We take the path of not causing harm. This central principle informs all other ethical commitments that arise with a broadly felt connection to other beings. Reducing suffering might mean changing harvest methods, for example, or it could mean providing protection for species close to extinction. Many might choose other ethical practices, eating produce that is locally organically grown, choosing fair trade products, using wind and/or solar energy, which cause little harm to the environment.

Bringing about peace means that we use ways to find solutions between different parties and point of views. Bridge builders play an active role, engaging conflict, but not taking sides, and strengthening weak relationships in the human and ecological web. We can bring in a healer role to our neighborhood, helping conflicting parties understand each other’s positions and finding a better solution at hand. It requests from us compassionate acts toward all parties, bearing witness without accusations, having clear and stabilized intentions and reporting facts without condemnation. This can be done!


Hearing the crickets at night
I vow with all beings
to find my place in the harmony crickets enjoy with the stars.

—Robert Aitken

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